Imagine this in your office. Two staff members, one on $90,000 per year, the other at $50,000. Both work together and spend three full working weeks splitting first and last names apart manually from a huge Excel spread sheet.
What a pity. What a waste. If only they knew that the entire job could have been done in 10 seconds intead of two people working eight hour days over the course of three weeks. 10 seconds or three weeks. Which would you prefer? What a shame that neither had known about the simple Excel function ‘Text to Columns’; asked other staff or thought to look in the help menu before they commenced such an onerous task.
How do I know? They told me about it during an in-house software productivity workshop I ran for their company.
This is symptomatic of the saddest thing I see as a ‘technology’ business speaker and trainer. The vast gulf between what the everyday business tools people have in hand can do; and how people actually use these tools. So much time is needlessly wasted doing things on their computer manually one by one by one, when it should be and could be done many at once.
I think the root of the problem is threefold.
First, computer training isn’t a priority now so staff are often left to DIY (do it yourself).
However DIY doesn’t occur because people at work are too busy. They don’t have the time to stop. Think. Search for a quicker or smarter way to do things.
Finally the rapid change in software and technology with upgrades. Just think of the massive productivity crash that went with the changeover from Office 2003 to 2013. It’s not only Microsoft Office. From the Internet to smart phones. Propriety or industry software systems. From Skype to Social media. If you use Facebook you know it seems to change monthly.
The solution is training of course, however if you don’t have the time or resource, here are five freasy (free and easy) ways.
- DIY –with 10 minute schmooze
Diary a few minutes once or twice a week and have a play – looking through the file menu/ribbons or asking questions to help. Microsoft has loads of how-to videos and tutorials online.
- Share a tip office meetings
Make sharing a computer tip a fun part of every weekly office meeting
- Tips on intranet
Have people put their top tips on the intranet to share
- Ask IT Helpdesks to put together a tip
Most IT Managers and helpdesks are a fountain of knowledge, but don’t have the time to comment on everyday software functions (or they think everyone will know them -which is Not the case).
Have an office library of books.